It was a privilege this week to be hosted by our primary sponsors CCLA to launch our first Charity Leaders Group. We are so pleased this new event drew over 50 members to hear two first class presentations. SAFEcic specialise in Safeguarding training, information and guidance and gave an extremely valuable and informative workshop on our charity safeguarding responsibilities. It was clear from the importance of the subject, participation and feedback that this was a great ‘headlines’ 1 hour session, but a more in-depth day focusing on the particular environment of NHS Charities would be valuable for everyone. So please watch this space as we look to implement this.

We were also honoured to hear from Amanda Tucker, Head of Charities and Denise Stanborough, Marketing Manager at Love Your Hospital which is Western Sussex Hospitals Charity, talking to us about building a charity team. Amanda and Denise took us on a very open, honest and vulnerable journey through their experience, their assumptions and learning of building their charity. So many of us in the room related to this in such a real way, we felt like a real community of learners and leaders in the room.

So a huge thank you to Rosie Carter, Managing Director of SAFEcic; Amanda and Denise at Love your Charity and to Antonia Cavalier and team at CCLA for a truly wonderful day and amazing lunch (with wine!). Presentations from the event are available on our website in the members’ area – past presentations. Also massive thank you to the A team, Claire and April, for organising such a great event. In the words on one of our members which I completely concur with, the Charity Leaders Group was ‘brilliantly informative and thoroughly enjoyed it. As ever I appreciate all the work that will have gone on behind the scenes to deliver this event and we’re very grateful to you for all that you do.’

In other news, the North West’s regional fundraising group (The Northern Gathering) met last week in York. It was brilliant to join the group for the day and explore together the possibilities and potential of the #NHSLongTermPlan and NHS Charities. I am delighted to announce that Emma Easton, Head of Voluntary Partnerships at NHS England will be speaking at our next Members Forum on 15th May on theme on the NHS Long Term Plan and NHS Charities.

We have a new exciting event we are launching in June, focusing on Crisis Comms ‘How to plan your Comms strategy for a crisis situation and handle the media storm if it arrives.’ We are so pleased that Kirsty Thomson, Head of Fundraising, Awyr Las, North Wales will be presenting a real-life example of a media crisis they have experienced and how the charity coped as the crisis unfolded and the lessons learnt.

Thank you to everyone who has already ‘booked up’ for the NHS Big Tea campaign, there is still time if you haven’t, please do get in touch. Let’s join together and raise the profile of NHS Charities by raising a cuppa and leading the nation in celebrating the NHS through their official charities. Next steps are for the NHSbig7tea website and assets to be updated; more communications about this and expected timelines will come out from me next week. So watch this space.

Lastly, there are still a few places left on our most popular Fundraising MIG Conference in March – so if you haven’t booked on yet there’s still time.

“I love it when a plan comes together.” Colonel John “Hannibal” Smith, The (other) A Team

Right, I’m off to Scotland to the visit those north of the border.

Ellie Orton

Chief Executive

Association of NHS Charities